More and more homeowners are looking to save money, gain valuable experience, and take pride in their places by doing their own home fixes and renovations. But when do you know if a project is DIY-worthy or DIY-crazy?
We’re looking at five of the most popular projects to determine whether you can have at it or you should turn it over to the pros.
The cost to install new wood floors can range widely, and is largely dependent on the cost of the product itself. HomeAdvisor estimates the cost of installation at $3–8 per square foot; You can save thousands by installing it yourself, but it can be challenging
“Installing wood (or wood-like) floors can range from a fairly easy DIY project to one that requires a good bit of carpentry and finishing skills,” said Today’s Homeowner.
Truth be told, installation is hard on the knees, hard on the back, tedious, and seemingly never-ending—and also incredibly satisfying if you pull it off. “Flooring is one of the most popular home improvement projects because it’s a way to transform the look and feel of the home without spending a fortune,” Dan DiClerico, home expert at renovations website HomeAdvisor, told Money. “We’ve seen the project really take off in the age of open-floor plans in contemporary homes.”
Be sure to invest in good products, good tools, and take breaks as needed to keep your body—and your mental state—in a good place.
A sparkly chandelier over the dining table, some new pendants that illuminate the kitchen island—the right lighting can make a huge difference in how your house looks and feels. Sometimes, all it takes is a change of lighting to make a space look fresher or give it some personality. But, while we’re all about picking out the good stuff, we don’t mess around with anything that can electrocute us. If you have basic wiring skills and feel confident that you won’t set the house on fire while installing a new sconce, have at it. This post will give you some good info.
For the rest of us, count on an hourly rate of “$40 to $100 per hour with a $75 service call-out fee,” said HomeGuide. “Small electrical projects range from $141 to $419 with most homeowners spending $280 on average. Project and hourly rates depend on the electrician's experience level and the type of work.”
New plumbing fixtures
Plumbing is the other thing we don’t mess with. We’re happy to pay a professional to do the job right. But for those in the know, the savings over hiring a plumber can be well worth it. Adding a shiny new sink and faucet to a kitchen can give the whole space a lift. Ditto in the bathrooms, where changing out a shower head and faucets can make it appear that the space has been updated.
Expect to pay a plumber “from $175 to $450 for a typical job with the average cost per hour ranging from $45 to $200,” said HomeAdvisor.
Replacing windows and doors
New windows and doors can add curb appeal, improve energy efficiency, and provide pretty good ROI while they’re at it. For most people, however, this is a professional job. “Window replacement is a bigger job than most homeowners may expect,” said The Spruce. “Window installers, after all, replace windows every day of their life; what is difficult for the DIYer is rote for them.” In addition, “it is difficult for homeowners to buy their own replacement windows for self-installation.
According to HomeAdvisor, “labor will run $150 to $800 per window,” so the savings can be substantial. If you want to take a chance, there is some good how-to info here, and Window E-Store is a good place to start looking for windows.
Painting your kitchen cabinets
We've talked a whole lot about painting kitchen cabinets—because it’s one of homeowners most-wanted renovations. The cost of hiring a professional can make the project price prohibitive; you’re looking at several thousands of dollars to get a fine finish. Scrimp on someone without the experience, or who isn’t going to do all the prep or skip steps, and you might save a few bucks, but you might also end up with drips, cracks, peeling paint, or all of the above.
That having been said, painting your own cabinets is a tremendous undertaking. It will test your patience, your resolve, and maybe even your marriage. So consider this one carefully.